Some Like Tit Hot

During my visit to WWT Welney, there happened to be a bird-ringing demonstration taking place.  I had never seen this in action, so went and had a look to see what it was all about… personal development and all that.

A representative from the British Trust for Ornithology had been busy catching birds in mist nets in order to show how to ring, weigh and measure them.  This process is incredibly important in the quest to find out more about birds and their movements, including helping to monitor population increases and decreases.

A red drawstring bag containing a previously captured bird, was brought out from under the table – It was a bit like an FA Cup draw.  ‘And to complete the fixtures for the third round, Kidderminster Harriers will play… Blue Tit City.

Seeing a Blue Tit in someone’s grasp showed just how small it was – unless the holder had unusually large hands, I suppose.  The bird was given a quick once-over: measured, ringed and rather undignifiedly weighed by being put head-first into something resembling one of those old black plastic camera film containers.  In spite of all this upheaval in its life, the bird remained calm and didn’t seem at all distressed.

Blue Tit

After all the scrutinizing, the chap asked a couple of children in the small audience if they wanted to release the Blue Tit.  Strangely (to me), both of them looked incredibly nonplussed, shrugged their unenthusiastic shoulders and said that they didn’t want to do it.  As I started to wonder why the youth of today would be quite happy to hurl irate cartoon birds at oddly green-coloured snouted mammals on their phones, but would not want to return an actual, real bird to its freedom, the release request was thrown out to the grown-ups.

I casually said ‘I’ll do it’, when internally, I was jumping up and down and shrieking ‘YES, YES, YES, ME, ME, ME!!’ in a very high-pitched tone.  At least, I think it was that way round.  I hope it was, anyway.

This was SO exciting…  I had never held a tit before (Oo-er!)

I was shown how to gently take the head between my fingers (Oo-er!) and, whilst examining its shiny ring (Oo-er!), I transferred the bird to the flattened palm of my other hand.  It sat there for a few seconds before flapping off, hopefully, in the direction of the nearest pig farm.  This was a level I had yet to complete…

Bird Ringing

I didn’t realise I was being stared at like I was just about to be stabbed with a small perching bird, then stuffed in a little red drawstring bag…

Bird Ringing

Pass the passerine…

When I'm super excited, I go out of focus...

When I’m super excited, I go out of focus… It’s physics, or something!

In all seriousness, it was a great moment and was a privilege to have been able to get so close to something so amazing and learn a bit at the same time.

If you are interested in learning to ring birds, you can find out more here.

I remember the first time I rang a bird* to ask her out on a date…  I think I was in Year 10 and, after I managed to explain who I was (I had been in her bloody form group for three years and she still didn’t seem convinced she knew me – How’s that for a bad start?), she said she couldn’t as she was washing her hair.  She actually said she was washing her hair! It seems people really do use that as an excuse to fob of unwanted admirers.  I learned a harsh lesson that day…

I never asked again and the knock-back meant I didn’t attempt to ask out another girl for a couple of years (That was also a similarly embarrassing and unsuccessful venture).  It was a dark day for my self-confidence.

* Note: I have only used the term ‘bird’ to describe a woman in order to crow-bar in a desperate tale of rejection from my youth.  Please forgive me – As a reward for your forgiveness, I have provided you, in advance, with an insight into how upsetting it was to be me as a teenager.  Don’t worry, though, I’m way cooler nowadays – I hang around nature reserves and spend my free time bird-watching.  Score!

And now over to Elton Welsby with news of today’s FA Cup draw: –

FA Cup fixtures

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About mixaeljones

Hello! I try to undertake a yearly challenge and write about it in a semi-witty manner. I often use twenty words when three will do. I am also a big fan of terrible puns and taking unintentionally blurry photographs of wildlife. In 2013 I tried to eat a food I hadn't eaten before each week (I got to 28!), in 2014 I attempted to seek out as many species of bird as I could in the year (I got to 201!) and in 2015 I delved head first into the world of butterflies and tried to see as many different types as possible (44!)... I've also done some belly dancing, been Father Christmas and nearly played tennis against Bjorn Borg. If any of this seems like it might be of interest, feel free to check out my blogs... Comments encouraged! Have a nice day :)
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